Society

SPLC: Number Of Hate Groups Spiked In 2016

| by Ray Brown
Neo-Nazis hold a Nazi flag at a rallyNeo-Nazis hold a Nazi flag at a rally

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its quarterly hate group study and found there has been an increase in the total number of active groups over the past year.

In 2016, there were 917 active hate groups, compared to 892 in the previous year.

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"2016 was an unprecedented year for hate," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists."

Referring to President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Potok added: "In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear."

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"There is no question that the organizations that aligned themselves with the Trump campaign saw their ranks grow, their prominence grow and their online readership grow," Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, told NBC News.

The report also blamed the "incendiary rhetoric" of Trump, "the unrelenting propaganda of a growing circle of well-paid ideologues," and terrorist attacks like the Orlando gay nightclub massacre for the increase in hate groups, reported The Associated Press.

SPLC, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, defines "hate groups" as any organization that opposes groups of people based on race, religion or ethnicity.

Black separatist and neo-Confederate groups were among those that saw an increase in the past year. For black separatist groups, the number went up from 180 to 193. And for neo-Confederate groups, there was an increase from 35 to 43.

Sources: JTA, AP, NBC News / Photo credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr